The Saving Grace of an Old School Strategy and Impulse

Salman Rushdie former Red Room banner photo from Internet Archive Wayback Time Machine“What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy.”
Author Salman Rushdie as formerly featured at Red Room
. (photo graphic courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

A lot of hearts passionate about reading, writing, publishing, and literary culture in general were broken July 3 when emails went out informing members of the former online Red Room community that it was going offline on July 8. Canada’s rapidly-growing Wattpad had acquired the San Francisco-based Red Room and elected to dissolve it rather than let it stand as a separate entity the way Amazon did when it acquired Goodreads last year. The July 3 notice gave those who had been having a quiet intense love affair with the online community for just over half a decade less than a week to get their profiles, keyboards, and gigabytes of shared content in order.

Aside from the emotional impact of having to unexpectedly say goodbye to what many considered a genuine “class literary act,” a number of writers realized they had initially composed and posted original works for their blogs and comments sections directly online without bothering to store back-ups anywhere else. Call it a 21st-century side effect of texting and instant messaging which tends to encourage––though not necessarily by any means intentionally–– communicating with minimal reflection on what is said before it is said. That same impulse prompts minimal concern for the preservation of shared texts even when the capacity for such preservation is available.


A Value unto Itself

The dilemma of losing original writings to the sudden departure of a favored website is not something likely to happen to an old school writer for one simple reason. Ever since as long ago as the predigital age of the number-2 pencil and the typewriter, wordsmiths-in-training were repeatedly cautioned to never give up the only copies of their writings to anyone for any reason. Most, in fact, were often told to never relinquish their “originals” period, which is one reason you occasionally hear about “authentic manuscripts” selling at auctions for millions of dollars (hard copies not digital files—at least not yet). Their value is derived from the singular legitimacy endowed by a moment in history and by an experienced crystallization of consciousness that can be described but not duplicated. The results of the moment can be reproduced in the form of copies, published articles, genuine books, or digital files. But it remains a fixed event with a value unto itself.

That same saving grace of old school strategies and impulses seems to have prompted Red Room CEO Ivy Madison and website editors to guard against the total loss of works previously published on the site by partnering with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to preserve members’ content. According to the posted domain sale notice, “The complete Red Room archive created the week of July 7, 2014 will show up on the July 2014 portion of the Wayback Machine calendar by approximately August 15, 2014.” That’s a far better deal than many others have gotten under similar circumstances.

Former Red Room editor Huntington Sharp maintained the following in response to a Publishers Weekly article on the subject, “No one lost their content: we made a special arrangement with the Internet Archive to make sure every page will be findable on the Wayback Machine. We don’t know of any other platform having taken this step on behalf of customers, but Red Room and Wattpad did.”

NEXT: The Saving Grace of an Old School Strategy and Impulse (part 2 of 2)

by Aberjhani

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King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow

          Michael Jackson with Spanish translation of quote from article by Aberjhani.
(graphic art poster courtesy of Facebook Group Blues Away)

The book Journey through the Power of the Rainbow, Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, contains a full chapter of quotes on Michael Jackson as well as the short essay which follows. Anyone interested in winning a free copy of the book is encouraged to check out the Goodreads widget at the end of the essay.

At least part of worldwide reading audiences’ growing familiarity with my work has to be attributed to the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. Although I started writing about Mr. Jackson’s life and legacy after in his death in 2009, I did not understand just how many people around the world had been taking note of those writings. Then it was brought to my attention that several full articles had turned up on multiple websites in the form of unauthorized translations into German, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, and other languages. Given the ease with which Internet technology makes it possible to accomplish such linguistic feats––precision of the translation notwithstanding––I told myself it had been inevitable.

Technological ease was only part of the reason. Another very significant part was what I had sensed myself and what author and Minister Barbara Kaufmann had identified as the “spiritual emergency” into which Jackson’s fans around the globe had found themselves plunged upon his death. They had discovered little to no consolation within a mainstream media and sideline tabloid press that continued to employ guerrilla decontextualization to sensationalize and capitalize off distortions of the megastar’s image even as the worldwide community he left behind flailed about in a tsunami of unrelenting grief. 

Please enjoy the full post by Aberjhani at this link:

King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow.